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Evidence, Practice and Procedure: The Legal Aid Agency and Denial of the Right to a Fair Trial

Date:3 JAN 2014
Solicitor Advocate

The case of Gitana Kineriene (‘GK': Kinderis v Kineriene [2013] EWHC 4139 (Fam)) and her 11-year-old daughter operates on a number of levels: the right to a fair trial; the grant or not of legal aid; and the human question of how justice can be done where a legal aid scheme is humanly impenetrable.


GK is a Lithuanian mother who brought her 11-year-old daughter to stay with GK's now adult daughter in Somerset. It was said to be a holiday. GK and the child failed to return. Both had reason to fear her husband. The father applied under the Hague Convention and as was his right he received legal aid regardless of his means and of the merit of his application. The case came before Holman J intended to be a full hearing of the father's application. The mother had been denied legal aid.


Holman J was in no doubt that GK's position left her outside the fair trial provisions of European Convention 1950 Art 6(1). Careful not to prejudge the case he said:


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